Tuesday, 4 July 2017
How a Syrian NGO is rebuilding destroyed parts of Idlib
'A non-governmental organisation has launched an initiative to rebuild parts of northern Syria that have been destroyed in the country's ongoing war.
The Violet Organization aims to clean, rebuild and renovate schools, roads, parks and other public spaces in rebel-held Idlib. The first project, dubbed "Idlib's Spring", focuses on the heart of Idlib city, where volunteers have painted, planted and renovated the famous clock square.
"We have 1,500 volunteers working on this project with the help of local committees, and we will continue with a similar project in areas such as in Ariha, Jisr al-Shughour, Maaret al-Numan, Marea and Kafranbel in Idlib province," said spokesman Fouad Sayyed Issa.
"The feeling of hope was felt by everyone as we finished our project in Idlib's clock square. This clock tower means so much to the people of Idlib," he added. "We could see happiness on the faces of adults and children; everyone was so happy. Everyone felt like life was brought back to them."
Founded in Idlib city in 2011, the same year the Syrian conflict began, the Violet Organization was launched by a group of volunteers focused on distributing humanitarian aid.
"Between 2015 and 2016, we managed to reach out to 2.7 million people in need," Issa said. "We mostly receive our donations from organisations and individuals. Our work includes creating shelters, providing health facilities and education, and protection."
Amid deadly fighting between rebels and government forces, the team later moved its office to the suburbs and expanded aid operations to Aleppo, Hama, Latakia, Homs and the Damascus suburbs.
Most of Idlib province in northwestern Syria has been under rebel control since 2015. It is regularly bombed by both Syrian and allied Russian warplanes, and many schools, hospitals and homes have been destroyed.
The Violet Organization has received praise from the United Nations for its aid during the eastern Aleppo evacuation, and the group has also teamed up with other relief groups, including Save the Children and the International Rescue Committee.
"Our message to the world is that the Syrian people can and will get back on their feet. We will bring life back to our country and smiles back to our peoples' faces. The war must stop; the air strikes and the fighting must stop," Issa said.'